Our kids are growing up and their interest level in fishing has been developing. For 10 year old Patsy it’s a challenge she takes seriously. Casting has been our focus but fishing in the drift boat on the McKenzie or Willamette does not require long casts most of the time. At Cedar Lodge we practice on the lawn and her skills have improved greatly. For 7 year old Cash fishing is more about discovering new things including fish, rocks, plants, bugs you name it, it’s about being outside for him. Our last trip down to the Bahamas I brought a couple of small spinning rods. We found a dead squid on the beach and caught bonefish, snapper and jacks right off the beach at Casuarina Point. Patsy cast and caught snapper from the boat with a fly rod last year and was ready to catch a bonefish this year.
We asked our friend and local guide JR Albury to take the family our for a day in the Marls. After stocking up on chips, mini snickers bars, Gatorade, and even a sandwich to accompany all the items you never get unless you are with mom and dad in a boat all day, we were ready to go. It was mid day and Patsy was up, JR poled here into a school of bones, she cast our old favorite 9ft 8wt B2X far enough to coax a small bonefish to a crazy charlie like imitation her and her brother had been tying the day before, and it was off to the races! She landed the bonefish without bloodying her knuckles and everyone in the boat was thrilled with her success! Proud parents then attempted to explain to her what she had just done!
Back up to the beginning of the day. We motored to an outer island looking for the tide to start to move lower and bring a few fish out of the mangroves. Shauna was up and right away we spot a small Permit. One cast near it and it spooked out of the area, nothing new here that’s what Permit do right? Next fish we see is a bonefish, she casts and hooks the fish who quickly runs into the mangroves and breaks off the already 4 day old leader that was a bit questionable to start. I hand Shauna the SAGE SALT 8wt and begin to re-work the leader on the 8wt Winston. New Rio leader and Hatch 12lbs tippet tied on we pole around the corner looking for bones. It’s beautifully calm and in the distance JR sees what he immediately identifies at a large ray with at least one Permit on it. Now we are about 150 meters away from the ray, plenty of time of change flies. I tie on an Avalon Permit fly and step onto the bow and have a look. JR poles us to with 60 feet or so, I make one cast that JR and I both think is to long, fortunately my leader is about 15 feet so the line doesn’t splash over the top of the fish. In retrospect I am not sure it would have made any difference. By now we have figured out there are about 7 permit feeding like reckless Jacks around this ray that is kicking up enough sand, crabs and shrimp to keep there attention focused on the meal not the approaching 18ft skiff. I make a long quick strip to get my line a bit shorter and mid-way through the strip the fish explodes on the fly that is ripping across the surface at mach 10. JR and Shauna are freaking out that the Permit has smashed the fly. I am in total dis-belief and contend that it’s not a Permit but rather a Jack. Permit don’t act like that right? Wrong! Thirty minutes later the fish to hand.
The rest of the day was filled with bonefish a few snapper and a double of small Barracuda’s for the kids. The day was spectacular and will certainly be one of the most memorable fishing experiences of my life.